Dec. 7, 2005
VIRGINIA HEAD COACH Dave Leitao
Credit to Dereck Whittenburg and his team for playing longer and harder than we did. For sustaining an energy level that at 1-6 sometimes you don’t get and rallied his troops and hung in there and won the basketball game.
The last shot had nothing to do with the game. The game was decided much before the last shot.
I’m most disappointed because we didn’t have sustained effort.
Tonight was a case of poor defensive effort. Bad at offensive execution. The same effort we got for the first 20 minutes, we didn’t get for the second. We did a good job on them for a half and didn’t do a good job on them for the second half. They got open looks that they didn’t get for the first 20 minutes. We got them back on their heels, they figured it out, we thought the game was over and stopped guarding them.
At the half my message was to pick up the intensity on defense and make a couple of adjustments to execute better on offense. We did a little bit of that on offense and took a little bit of a lead, took a deep breath, thought the game was over. The same things they were doing in the first half, they did in the second, this time they got open looks and confidently knocked them down.
We are in search of a team that can play harder with sustained minutes on defense. We are in search of a team that can play more aggressive and more together on offense. Whether we have a game tomorrow or 10 days from now, it doesn’t matter because we have to find a way to get there.
FORDHAM HEAD COACH DERECK WHITTENBURG
I’ve been here a lot in this gym–not at the podium as a coach, but a lot. The last time I played here I was with Wagner. They had Sean Singletary–a great guard out. I just thought WOW. Unfortunate for them, but good for us because we know he’s a tremendous player. We know that they are still a good basketball team. I’ve been watching them and they’ve been playing well and playing hard. They really have good defensive patience.
I really had a lot of confidence in this game. I have one of the best big men in the country and I thought he was going to play well if we got the ball inside to him. We just toughed the game out. We made some gutsy plays and ended up making one more play than they did in the end.
I almost had a heart attack when I walked in and saw him (Sean Singletary) in street clothes. That’s either good or bad. Sometimes when a good player goes out, the other team looks and says, “We have a chance.” We didn’t look at that and just played the game the same way. I didn’t want to bring it to our team’s attention. I told them that this is what we have to do to be successful–if we run offense and get it inside, I think we’ll have a chance.
We threw a lot of guys on J.R. Reynolds and paid a lot of attention to him. We knew that Singletary and he are the key so we threw a lot of different defenses at them. Sometimes we were in man, sometimes in match up and sometimes in two-three in hopes that we could slow them down and confuse them. They hurt us a little bit with the screen on the ball with Reynolds and I know that we couldn’t hold them down for long, but fortunate for us they didn’t make the play at the end.
We can shoot the three and Marcus Stout, our best three-point shooter, didn’t hit but a couple and he’s usually good for three or four a game. That’s our game–we can spread it out and get the ball in to Dunston and get the ball and swing it out and around–we can hit some three-point shots.
Not to foul and make Reynolds catch the ball in front of him and say a prayer and hope he doesn’t hit the long shot was our strategy for the last play of the game.